40 Years

The UK’s commitment to Afghanistan could last for up to 40 years, the incoming head of the Army has said. Gen Sir David Richards, who takes over on 28 August, told the Times the Army’s role would evolve, but the process of “nation-building” would last decades.

The BBC story represents a broad range of opinion from pro- war to the rest of NATO aren’t pro war enough (a poodle saying to the rest of the pack- Hey you aren’t subservient enough to the master!), why do I get the feeling the BBC management some time this spring met with the govt and an editorial line has been agreed. Some time before the summer of Afghanistan war stories began a few weeks back, co-ordinating with a major offensive and New Labour’s Yay The Military day (and indeed Andy McNabb’s radio play, jeebus). No Afghan comment was sought, no domestic anti war comment is reported. Journalism again part of the war effort.

14 Responses to “40 Years”

  1. otto Says:

    Yeah I saw that headlining The Times yesterday and thought, “Yes we said 40 years so get used to the idea, proles. Beats running exercises in the Cairngorms, grunts.”

    Also reminded me of this:

    Rik: Neil, what are you doing?
    Neil: Queueing
    Rik: How long have you been there?
    Neil: 30 Years

  2. RickB Says:

    Indeed, it’s always easy for a general to declare a long war, job security!

    PS. wow, that leads me to discover whole Young Ones scripts are online, even if it pains me to be reminded of what has happened to Ben Elton!

    • otto Says:

      Oh dear. Oh very, very dear. If a raging voice extinguishes it’s understandable. Some people just don’t have enough fire to make it last the long-duration…that’s the way it is and that’s ok i spose. But Ben Elton supporting any war is bad enough, let alone the Iraqi version of Duke Nukem. Can you imagine (geddit?) Lennon at nearly 70 folding and aplogizing for this shit?

      I’m back to thinking about the place I left many many moons ago and I can’t decide whether I’ve been away too long or too little. On reflection I think I’m much better off watching from afar. I’ve just blown dust off my ‘TS Eliot Collected works’ (yes, i know the anagram) to make sure I get this quote correct….

      We shall not cease from exploration
      And the end of all our exploring
      Will be to arrive where we started
      And know the place for the first time.
      (Little Gidding)

      ….which is far more profound than the use it’s being put to here, but it sprung to mind…and it works ok. Anyway, back to the topic; as Elton sees mindless violence as a way of settling matters these days, punch the fucker in the mouth the next time you see him, will yas RB? I’ll owe you one and slap Pinochet’s grandson to repay.

  3. RickB Says:

    There is a story about Elton stealing Alexia Sayles material when BE had a tv show and AS didn’t, thus to a mass audience the gag becomes Elton’s. I feel like it’s a -we’ll always have Paris- thing, we have the Young Ones and Blackadder and his early routines but then his careerism became greater than any ideals, a not uncommon story.

    I think it’s a plenty profound use and a better future seems more possible where you are than here perhaps, with our Royals and ‘tradition’ weighing us down like a hungry zombie, death that feeds on the living. Airstrip One abides, (the parties talk of homeland security now). However a state visit by IKN would be welcomed by the unaligned rabble!

    Well a knotty ethical dilemma do we sink to their level? To be honest if it gets Pinochet’s no good son a good slap Elton better watch out (although given relative magnitudes, Elton maybe suffices with a sharp pinch).

  4. otto Says:

    Pinch good, but it’s gotta have enough in it that makes him go “Owww! Waddya do that for?”

  5. otto Says:

    Here’s a quick anecdote: I was last in Blighty in 2002 and went to my dad’s local for a pint with him. It was nice to see a big, airy windowy extension had been built on the pub since I’d last been there that was specifically to attract families with kids etc. (In my time kids were simply banned from all pubs). So this family of four, husband/wife/boy7-ish/girl5-ish were across the room and the kids were playing and having fun. I watched them a while and then the kids and i started smiling and joking with each other, cos that’s what you do round where I live…you just get along with everybody, esp. kids that are playing their games. But when my dad notices this he leans over and says “Hey, you can’t do that! They’ll think you’re a perv or something and report you!”

    I say “Rubbish!”, he says “Not rubbish” etc etc and the talk goes on like this for a few seconds until I go “ok, i’ll go over and ask the parents”, so i did. They tell me “well, we did think it was a bit strange that you started talking with our children, have to say”.

    I mean, where do you start with this? If i tell them they’re been brainwashed into submission it’s just one voice against the seven squillion they hear coming out of their TV and radio every day, The state of fear™ was palpable in their eyes. So i just say “no i’m not a perv” and rather than lecture them just explained where i lived and what i was doing was perfectly normal.

    “Thing is mate”, says the husband (who was really an ok dude..by this time we were cool with each other) “it’s not normal here. My advice to you is to avoid trouble. Other people might have taken real offence to the way you were chatting with our kids”.

    I’d actually gone back to the UK on an indefinite stay..wasn’t sure whether i’d stay but had decided to give it a try for a while. I lasted out two months and left again, haven’t returned since. My family and friends say it’s just got worse since 2002, as well. The biggest Eliot-esque culture re-shock i had was the way i was being judged all the time (was i good, was i bad, was i useful to the other, was i rich, was i poor, you-don’t-like-it-here-what’s-wrong-with-you?), I don’t miss that feeling at all, but that’s another story for another day.

    One of my dad’s friends said to me “When you tell people you’ve lived in South America for years I bet they’re thinking you’re lying and you’ve been in prison for all that time.” That was just the most bizarre thing I have ever heard, but when he said it i remembered previous conversations that fit what he’d just said…it’s the automatic suspicion, y’see. Here you’re taken at your word and if you are found to have lied at a later date you suffer the consequences. The UK was all “gotta test this story of his to make sure it’s true” so i’d get for example “bollocks, if that’s true speak some Spanish to me then” that wouldn’t let up until i did (and i’d really insult the f****r in Spanish too just to feel better). Or i’d get quizzed about the places i know…not out of curiousity either. I had to pass their test.

    I’m now blathering. Shall stop.

  6. earwicga Says:

    Feel free to blather – it’s a very boring Saturday night. Eve Ensler talks about how we have all been tricked into a constant state of insecurity in ‘Insecure at last: A political memoir, and how this makes one cling to an identity which makes a person one of US and logically there has to be an opposing THEM. Which ultimately is very dangerous.

    • otto Says:

      That’s just a variant on “divide and conquer”. Note how Brits will talk with other Brits while on holiday abroad somewhere but wouldn’t dream of striking up the same conversation on home soil as the microfracturing of society stops the contact.

      I can’t blather today, sorry. I have a 10,000 word report with a deadline of Sunday afternoon that’s missing around 9,000 words right now. Cue midnight oil.

    • RickB Says:

      Ensler, Will you be reviewing it?

  7. RickB Says:

    ZOMG!!! You talked to children!
    This was a lot of what the Brass Eye Paedogeddon special was about, a hysterical fear of strangers in this case as suspected molesters (despite most abuse being within families). Now that you point it out I would say that’s probably about a normal dynamic now, man/child social interaction has a lot of conditions if it is to be acceptable and being friendly is always suspicious to our British upper lips. But yes the atomised paranoid society is advancing, the procedure to pick kids up from school involves locked doors and all manner of checks, which we feel make sense, but starts to get a bit farcical.

    I have to say your whole blog is a very clever attempt to dispel the obvious long sentence you are serving in Parkhurst! That is weird, do you wear a lot of stripey clothes with numbers on them? I think it is often a necessary struggle for Brits to relax and listen to other people and allow conclusions to be made with information as opposed to making assumptions with no evidence. I think it lies in the arrogance of a (former) imperial power in part, strangers and suspicion of them is amplified when you have done a lot of large scale international armed robbery. Also we are so encourage to compete ruthlessly against each other which also increases the mistrust. And just popped into my head with Ronnie Biggs getting parole maybe it’s also a pop culture thing of South America being ‘that place where villains would flee to’. To your dad’s friend generation that probably has some weird folk credence.

    Hmm, but still no denying other friends who have escaped or been on long sojourns do also say they feel a kind of uncharitable scrutiny once back in ‘Great’ Britain.

  8. earwicga Says:

    Otto, what Ensler talks about is is post 9-11 America and you should give it a read.

    RickB, no I won’t be. The book was published in 2006 and I imagine a lot of already excellent reviews exist.


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